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Lt. Mike Franklin and Firefighter Curtis Garvin receive presentations from Capt. Steve Smith in recognition of their efforts to rescue a local resident. A golfer had wandered into the swamp and was reported missing. The two, along with Firefighter Scott Judd, rescued the man. (Photo by Mike Corradino)
Lt. Josh Walsh presents Firefighter/EMT Tyler Cofield with a certificate for earning his designation as a Paramedic. His training took one year and 1,100 hours to complete. (Photo by Mike Corradino)
By Terri Wells
Whether it's deepening their skills or rescuing a missing person, Groveland firefighters have distinguished themselves recently. That hard work is being noticed, as firefighters Tylor Cofield, Scott Judd, Curtis Gavin, and Lt. Michael Franklin received certificates of recognition from the Groveland City Council at their meeting on January 19.

Cofield was recognized for earning the designation of Paramedic and the privilege to work as a Paramedic for the Groveland Fire Department and the Lake EMS System. According to Captain Steve Smith of the fire department, that was no easy task.

"In August of 2014, FF Cofield signed up for the Paramedic program through Lake Technical Center in Tavares, and completed it in July of 2015. This program consisted of 1100 hours of classroom and clinical training, and it takes 52 weeks to complete," Smith explained.

Cofield still wasn't done, however. He had to sit for and pass the Florida Paramedic exam, which he did in September. This earned him the title of State of Florida certified Paramedic.

"This alone was not enough to allow him to work as a Paramedic in our system. He still had to complete our provisional program, which was another 450 hours of training," Smith elaborated. Cofield was cleared to practice as a medic at the end of last year.

The certificates of recognition for Lt. Michael Franklin and firefighters Scott Judd and Curtis Gavin were awarded for rescuing a missing person near Clerbrook RV Resort.

According to Smith, they responded to a call in late November from the RV park. Upon arrival, they spoke to the missing person's wife, who told them her husband had gone out looking for golf balls and she had not heard from him in nearly an hour.

Franklin, who had just been promoted to lieutenant a few months previously, quickly took command of the situation and requested additional resources. Shortly thereafter, as they prepared to start their search, Franklin was approached by a man who told him he had heard yelling earlier.

When they arrived at the place where yelling had been heard, Franklin, Judd, and Gavin saw a light shining out on a canal. They quickly determined that it was the missing person. After taking proper safety precautions, Franklin swam out to him and determined that he was uninjured. The team brought Franklin and the no-longer-missing person back to shore, where the latter was transported to the hospital as a precaution.

"We would like to commend Lt. Michael Franklin, FF Scott Judd, and FF Curtis Gavin in their concern for the health and well-being of a local resident by their actions considered beyond the scope of expectations in the performance of their duties," declared Smith.

Groveland Firefighters
Groveland Firefighters
Groveland fire department members recognized
at city council meeting for service to the community

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